Address: Tesco Stores Ltd, New Tesco House, Delamare Road, Cheshunt, Herts, EN8 9SL
Telephone: 01992 632222
Email: Website contact form
Jack Cohen began selling surplus groceries from a stall in the East End of London in 1919. He left the Royal Flying Corp at the end of the Great War and used his demob money to buy the first day's stock.
At the end of the first day Jack Cohen made a profit of £1 on sales of £4.
In 1924, Jack launched his company’s first own brand product, Tesco Tea. This was before the company was called Tesco. The name comes from the initials of TE Stockwell, who was a partner in the firm of tea suppliers, and CO from Jack's surname.
In 1929, Jack Cohen opened the first Tesco store in Burnt Oak, Edgware, London.In 1934, Jack bought a plot of land at Angel Road, Edmonton, London, to build a new headquarters and warehouse. It was the first modern food warehouse in the country and introduced new ideas for stock control. By the late 1930s, Jack was growing the business by purchasing stores and renaming them Tesco throughout the London suburbs.
In 1947, Tesco Stores (Holdings) was floated on the stock exchange with a share price of 25 pence. Within a year, and after a trip to North America, Jack ventured into self-service. The first of these new stores opened in St Albans, Hertfordshire in 1948 with a mixed reaction from customers at first. The company continued to grow and expand by 1961, Tesco were selling household goods and clothing throughout around 300 UK stores. In 1963, the innovative Green Shield Stamps incentive scheme was introduced. Stamps collected at the checkout could be exchanged for a range of goods from a catalogue.
The term 'superstore' was first coined in 1968, when the Tesco Superstore was opened in Crawley, West Sussex. It was 40,000 square feet in size and sold food and non-food goods. In the same year, Tesco purchased the Victor Value chain.
Jack Cohen died in 1979, but his small enterprise was now the second biggest chain of its type in the UK, behind Sainsbury’s.
Tesco’s innovation and rise continued unabated and in 1982 computerised checkouts were introduced. In 1985, they launched their own healthy eating range of products. They were the first major retailer in the UK to do so.
Nearly two decades later, Tesco are the biggest UK grocery chain and have a presence in 12 overseas markets, including the largest market share in several.
Tesco Mature Devonshire Cheddar &
Caramelised Red Onion
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a rewarding cheesy sort of aroma. The flavour was a little hard to nail, though. There was certainly a cheese, and it could probably be described as mature in flavour. This was backed up by a rather clawing sweet taste. It was not specifically onion, but there was an onion aftertaste. Unfortunately, although present, the flavours did not hit it off together. They were almost separate flavours but on the same crisp.
Tesco Cumberland Sausage & Wholegrain
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a mild mustard aroma. The early taste was a little like roast chicken crisps, but further chomping suggested mild mustard mixed in with a slightly burned barbecue sausage. The lengthy descriptive wording of the flavour appeared a little ambitious to me, but although it was more of a generic flavour variety, it was a fair description of the crisps.
Tesco Finest Handcooked Lightly Sea
A Nose Plunge Test revealed the strange smell of an empty bag. I had to double-check to make sure there were some crisps in there. The taste was a little more rewarding, but only a little. The flavour was exactly as described, lightly salted. The over-riding flavour, however, was oil. Potatoey oil.
Tesco Finest Mature Devonshire Cheddar &
Norfolk Ale Chutney
A Nose Plunge Test revealed an agreeable potato and cheese smell. They were not a ‘Mature’ Cheddar flavour, but the cheese was warm, tangy, and rewarding. There may even have been a tinge of sweet beefy beer - The aftertaste certainly indicated so. I have no idea why the regional allusions, but overall, it was a cheese flavour with an overlay of chutney sweetness, with some a little more oniony than others. It was a bit of a mishmash, but with such a defined and detailed taste description, I felt I had a right to expect just that little bit more.
Tesco Finest Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar Hand Cooked Crisps
The cider vinegar was incredibly well pronounced, which was a little surprising. It would have been preferable if there was a touch more salt to balance this out, but as with most crisps of this variety, these were not, and did not intend to be, regular salt and vinegar.
Tesco Finest Mature Cheddar and Red
So many crisps companies claim to include mature Cheddar. This is somewhat inconsistent with reality and these were no different. Cheesy? Yes. But mature Cheddar is a bit of a stretch. There was a slight touch of onion in the background, but nothing defining.
Tesco Finest Thai Inspired Sweet Chilli
There was a fascinating flavouring to these crisps that revealed a contradiction. There was an undoubted Thai chilli taste, but it was not sweet chilli, it was aromatic curry seasoning and spices. I would go as far as saying there was a lot more character to these crisps than the flavour description declared. A renaming is in order for what were outstanding, but incorrectly named crisps.
Tesco Finest Sea Salt & Black Pepper
On first taste this appeared a little disappointing. The flavouring just lacked a bit of oomph. The aftertaste, however, was altogether different. The bumpy and bubbly texture’s heavy seasoning hit home with lip stinging salt and throat bashing Pepper. Once I got going the flavour as fully evident on each well balanced crisp.
Tesco Ready Salted Crisps
The phrase ‘Ready Salted’ is peculiar to the UK. It doesn't mean anything. What is the ‘Ready’ for? A Nose Plunge Test revealed little more than oily potato. The taste was similar. There was clearly oil-infused potato as the underlying flavour to very lightly salted crisps.
Tesco Cheese & Onion Crisps
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a familiar cheese and onion aroma. It was not just cheese, and although there was something else there, it could not be fairly described as onion. The taste was a fair bit more rewarding. The cheese was mild, the onion was mild, but they both mixed up well with the potato to provide a balanced, if somewhat timid flavour.
Tesco Salt & Vinegar Crisps
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a nicely balanced weighted vinegar aroma. The perfect salt and vinegar crisp will have to balance the two partners in the combo to provide an absorbing and moreish flavour. A Taste Test featured a dominant vinegar taste followed by a strange vinegar and potato combination. If there is one regular victim of salt and vinegar flavour crisps it is invariably the potato, which is almost always lost in the swirl of flavours. Even the vinegar was very tame and unnoticeable on some of the crisps.
Tesco Smoky Bacon Crisps
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a smoky aroma. This was good, and it was also followed by a meaty, smoky flavour, which was also good. However, in a king’s new clothes sort of fashion, I would like to point out that although smoky bacon is an established flavour in the UK, it doesn't taste much like bacon. Not just with these crisps, but with the vast majority. So, if asked whether they tasted like smoky bacon crisps, I would say, yes. It was a mild smoky and meaty flavour, and the taste was familiar with this variety of crisp.
Tesco Beef & Onion Crisps
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a heavy beef aroma. This was followed by the taste, which was similar, but lacking its onion flavour partner. It was a little like the taste of a crumbly beef stock cube.
Tesco Roast Chicken Crisps
The bag explains that roast chicken flavour contains: Whey powder, yeast extract, dextrose, salt, sugar, onion powder, sage, thyme, citric acid, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika extract for colour and ‘Flavouring,’ which is not just misleading, but a little alarming. Unless told otherwise I will presume that ‘Flavouring’ is extract of cardboard. For no other reason than the taste was a little cardboardy. Not necessarily in a completely negative way, it is merely that roast chicken is a tough enough flavour to pin down when it arrives on a dinner plate, so the hunt for background subtleties was fruitless. These crisps tasted of a rather well-rounded chicken crisp flavour. Almost like a chicken stock cube. Of course, this is a concentrated taste of chicken, but that is very much the taste of most chicken flavour crisps.
Tesco Cornish Sea Salt & West Country
Most salt and vinegar crisps provide a nose stinging vinegar aroma, but these did not. There was very little smell at all. They were salty, but also very sweet and tangy. This was presumably what cider vinegar did to them. And yes, there was a strong taste of cider vinegar. I went into the experience expecting regular salt and vinegar, but instead got what it said on the packaging. It was an interesting flavour, and one that was fairly unique. It was, however, a little too sweet.
Tesco Finest Smoky Braised Ribs with
Ancho Chilli Crisps
A Nose Plunge Test was not required. The aroma flooded the room as soon as the bag burst open. Very impressive. Many private label crisps lack quality but these did not fit that category at all. Although the word “Braised” is a little misleading – It effectively just adds another word. There was a meaty flavour somewhat akin to pork ribs. The chilli was also nicely balanced. Despite being a limited edition offering and a rather unique flavour combo, it would not be a surprise to see these highly impressive crisps return to Tesco shelves at some stage in the future.
Tesco Finest Ham with Spiced Cola Glaze Handcooked Crisps
There was a ham backdrop and a sweet undertone. I did not identify cola as such, and certainly not the nonsensical addition of the word ‘Spiced’ but there was an element of fun and the combo worked well together to create an enjoyable, but ultimately fancifully named variety.
Tesco Finest Salsa Picante Crisps
An elegant flavour description, but they were paprika flavoured crisps. Paprika is a popular central European spice, which is popular as a crisps variety throughout the continent, but this stood up fairly well. There was a slight sweetness, but also an equally consistent heat kick. There was also a touch of cayenne that mixed well with the clear and unambiguous paprika flavouring.
Tesco Finest Pigs in Blankets Hand Cooked
There was a smoky bacon aroma when the bag was opened. Bacon was the overriding flavour. They hinted towards spicy chorizo. There was no sausage taste as such, but it could be argued the chorizo-leaning flavour covered that base as well as the spicy pork. There was also a slightly tangy sweetness with a hint of pepper.
Tesco Finest Crinkle Cut Roast Beef & Horseradish Hand Cooked Crisps
Supermarket offering often get a bad rap, but Tesco rarely disappoint with their Finest range. These were no different. In fact, I have to say, despite my previous statement, I was surprised by how good they were. They were firm and crunchy. The ripples provided a nice addition. The beef stock flavouring was perfectly matched by a perfectly rounded Horseradish that trod the boards neatly between enjoyably edible and too hot for some. Outstanding.
(24) * 2022 UK Winner